Me, the operating system formerly known as Millennium Edition (TOSFKAME),
will eliminate support for many networks. And it's running late. La
plus a change
March 15, 2000 - Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) has dropped support for some
networking technology from its upcoming Windows Me consumer operating
system in a move analysts say is intended to nudge customers to the company's
more lucrative Windows 2000 software.
Me, formerly known by its code-name, Millennium, will not include technology
that allows users to connect directly to corporate local area networks
(LANs) running Novell (NASDAQ:NOVL) or Banyan (NASDAQ: BNYN) systems software,
the company confirmed.
previous Microsoft operating systems, Windows Me, expected to debut this
fall, is positioned solely for home users, who would be unlikely to connect
their PCs to corporate networks. Microsoft argues that the networking
technology being dropped from Windows Me is more of a hassle for consumers,
not a convenience.
and Novell both say the decision will not have much of an effect on their
customers, who generally use Windows NT or Windows 2000.
Me is Microsoft's first purely consumer-focused version of Windows. In
designing the upgrade, Microsoft originally sought to bolster the way
the operating system hosted digital media entertainment, gaming, home
networking, and shared networking. The company also wanted to make it
easier to use than its predecessor.
addition, the product is scheduled to include Internet Explorer 5.5, the
latest version of Microsoft's browser, also currently in beta testing.
Can you imagine how nasty things would get if the business and consumer
sides of Microsoft were split up after the antitrust decision? Windows
Me doesn't just eliminate Novell & Banyan support - it also leaves out
full Active Directory functionality. Active Directory is one of the principal
new features in Microsoft Windows 2000, released on 17 February 2000.
Many of the most desirable features of Windows 2000 networks, such as
IPSec, Intellimirror, file replication, and encryption, require Active
say cha-ching. Microsoft is clearly pushing the business PC buyer to stay
away from Windows Me and Windows 98 (upgrade street price $97) in favor
of Windows 2000 (upgrade street price $189). There's still a lot of Windows
95 and Windows 98 in the corporate world, and this will spur further upgrades
to Windows 2000.
Windows 2000 was released in February 2000, there were few Windows 2000-specific
applications. This announcement may help fix that. There's a clear message
for business-oriented independent software vendors (ISV's). Rather than
write once for two platforms - 9X/Me and NT/2000, Microsoft is strongly
suggesting you write once for one platform - Windows 2000 - and forget
about Windows Me.
also makes life harder for Novell. Novell already makes its own client
software, but a majority of business users just use the Microsoft-provided
Novell client. This makes it incrementally harder to continue supporting
NetWare servers. Windows 95 & Windows 98 were both positioned as consumer
products - and they included the LAN support.
the same time, ship dates for Windows Me vary. Estimated ship dates have
varied in the press, and beta testers have doubted that Microsoft will
make a ship date in 3Q 2000. Microsoft is still publicly committed to
shipping Windows Me in 2000, although a fourth quarter shipping date would
be too late for many holiday PC sales.
now, Microsoft has tied the release of Internet Explorer 5.5 to Windows
Me. If Windows Me hits further delays (40% likelihood), Microsoft is likely
to release IE 5.5 independently of Windows Me.
To sum up, a product that will ship later than expected probably won't
contain essential business networking features. This means you can rule
out buying Windows Me. You should budget for an extra $100 more, per seat,
for new purchases of Windows 2000 in lieu of Windows 98. And you should
at least contemplate Linux desktops. After all, if Windows Me is delayed
much more, it may never ship.